Too little affect in his narrative, too little distinction among characters in his dialogue. His diction was quite muddy.
Yes; yes indeed.
There's very little in the way of character development, but it's so evocative of a feeling of timelessness and the infinite that I'm fascinated. I can't wait to see where the story is going. This is what reading fantastical literature is supposed to do for you.
I would try another book from the narrators - they were wonderful.
I will likely try another from David Mitchell, but after a prolonged break; and I will avoid multi-character, multiple-thread tomes.
I really enjoyed the section with Holly Sykes as a teenager. The writing "sounded" true, and the narration was dead-on.
Each individual section was well-written, but the book was ultimately frustrating; Mr. Mitchell never really drew all the disparate sections together satisfactorily enough to justify the time spent building each character.
MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW
Of particular note - Ed Brubek and Crispin Hershey. I kept waiting for their story lines to circle back around and materially affect the narrative. I was forced to the conclusion that the story could have concluded exactly as it had, even without their presence in the book (with the obvious exception of Ed and Holly's daughter). Crispin especially was problematic; he lived, he died, but he had no effect on Holly's story.
I understand that this book is an attempt at mixing "literary" with genre writing, and Mr. Mitchell's mastery of his craft as a writer is obvious. Which is why this one is so frustrating - so much skill, leading in the end to a very tepid conclusion.
It'll be a long time before I'm ready for another Dan Simmons novel. And a long, long time before I'll listen to a Kevin Pariseau performance of a work of fiction.
Would not recommend. The book lacks focus, and is not a good example of Mr. Simmons' better writing.
Mr. Pariseau's inflections in dialogue were atrocious - I often wondered if he even read the descriptions of the way things were said. There was no nuance in his delivery - whispers, speculation, regrets, all were delivered in the same monotone. Except for once character . . .
I almost could not continue once the character of Moira appeared. She's a (SPOILER ALERT) young woman, but he makes her sound like my 85 year-old great aunt. A terrible, terrible misread of the character that threw me out of the story everytime he voiced a line.
Mild curiosity, the further I got into it. The story went everywhere (almost literally), without managing to imbue the characters with much that made me care what happened to them. But I was curious to see what else Mr. Simmons would cram into the book, and to see how - if - he pulled it all together.
This book contained some of the most cringe-inducing descriptions of sexual arousal and intercourse I've ever seen in a work of fiction (fortunately, there weren't many, but they were memorable for their awfulness). Mr. Pariseau's delivery of the scenes only made them worse - turgid prose delivered in a stentorian monotone is a combination to be avoided at all costs.
Too much of the story remained unresolved at the end. Scott ended up a passenger, a witness to the events of his time, but all through the story, there was the promise that his role in somehow bringing about events, or his potential role in resolving the conflict at the core of the story, would be revealed. In the end, there was no reveal, and no satisfactory reason revealed for why we should care about him.
In like manner, the story of the Chronoliths was left unresolved. There was very strong hint that Scott's mentor Su had some role in "defeating" the final Chronolith (although we're never certain that it was the final one - the whole thing sort of petered out), but it's left ambiguous. I don't mind a little ambiguity, but not when it involves the organizing theme and central actor in the story. It seems as if Mr. Wilson just got tired of the whole thing and decided to wrap things up by making everyone older.
Probably not. His inflections often did not match the descriptors in the text for the way characters spoke; I felt that he completely missed on Hitch Paley's style of talking during the latter part of the book. It also seemed that all of Mr. Wyman's female characters, with the exception of Su, spoke with the same voice.
I stayed with the book because the central conceit - giant monuments from the future, portending global conflict and conquest - promised some very interesting science fictional treatment of time, causation, necessity. But none of the promise was delivered on; we were left with no particular insight into either the science, the political / military possibilities, the paradoxical possibilities, or the characters themselves.
The Gettysburg address. Hearing Ms. Toren read it in its entirety moved me to tears.
She has a very clear voice and enunciates very well. It was always obvious when she was quoting from a document or letter from her changes in inflection, and while she gave a slightly different voice to each person, she didn't overdue the characterization. She really let the history come through by not over-performing.
Lincoln's death, especially the effect it had on the powerful and willful men with whom he had surrounded himself. I was surprised at how emotional I became at the author's description - it's not like I didn't know what was going to happen, after all; still, she gave it an emotional resonance I hadn't expected.
We all know that Lincoln was a great president. This book tells us why he was great, and how his greatness was expressed in his words and actions. The development of grudging respect for him among his former rivals, growing into affection and finally love was a hard-won thing, and the author does a wonderful job of taking us through each man's journey. Lincoln is viewed through as many lenses as there are members of his cabinet, and we get a very well-developed picture of him.
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